In Miller v HCA, Inc the Texas Supreme Court overturned a $60 million verdict against a hospital for resuscitation over the parent’s objections of a 23-weeks’ gestational age, 615-g infant. The “emergent circumstances” standard articulated by the court established an exception for children to the long-standing rule that unconsented touching constitutes battery. Under the exception, a physician may use life-sustaining treatment even over parental objection if, in the physician’s judgment, the infant is potentially viable and failure to treat would result in death. Once the child is stabilized and a full examination and assessment of the child’s condition is completed, the requirement for informed consent before treating applies.

In a commentary on the case, John A. Robertson of the University of Texas Law School takes the standard and extends it to claim that under the federal Child Abuse Amendments (CAA) of 1984 (the so called “Baby...

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